Dial H for Hevaluation

I've been a huge Dial H fan ever since I discovered Chris and Vicki changing identities in the back of New Adventures of Superboy. If I hadn't been creating my own superheroes already, that would have made me start. According to the gaping hole in one of the comics' letters pages, I even sent some in. Since then, I've followed the Dial and I've retraced its steps. Here's the thing I ask myself though: What if had come across the character find of whatever year it was? What if Chris or Vicki had turned into Deadpool or Witchblade (saying that, I'm really happy Dial H didn't last into the 90s - imagine the number of gun-totting, pouchy anti-heroes!)? Even before the heroes were fan-made, what if the first appearance of Green Lantern or the Flash had been as a Dialed hero? Or did the writer (Dave Wood, in the pages of House of Mystery) throw in lame concepts on purpose, keeping his better ideas for... well I can't name a single recurring character created by Dave Wood except Robby Reed. The late, great Jim Mooney is initially on costume duty - did he do the same? Made to be disposable, whether by professionals or fans, could the Dial H heroes have lived long and full lives?

Case 1: House of Mystery #156
Dial Holder: Robby Reed (first appearance and origin)
Dial Type: The Big Dial (this Dial has alien lettering on it which allows the user to dial with more than just the four letters H-E-R-O)
Dialing: H-E-R-O turns Robby into a superhero. O-R-E-H turns him back into Robby Reed.
Name: Giantboy (sounds like a Legion character)
Costume: As the member of a team like the Legion, Giantboy has potential. He would be easy to find in a crowd, both thanks to size and color. The sweater collar has to go though.
Powers: Giantboy is always giant-sized, which makes having a normal secret identity difficult. He can fly and has super-strength, again giving him a particularly Legionny feel.
Sighted: In Littleville. Prevented a plane from crashing and saved a chemical plant from the Thunderbolt organization's war machine.
Possibilities: His best place in the DCU is in the 30th century, trying out for the Legion of Super-Heroes (no flight ring required). However, his spot is already taken up by Colossal Boy, so he'll wind up as a reject, getting drunk with Arm-Fall-Off Boy.
Integration Quotient: 35% (fits, but the best he can hope for is obscurity for decades before being killed off in a crossover event)
Name: Cometeer (sounds like an Archie hero)
Costume: A ghostly appearance does not a striking hero make. Nor does that headdress. Or the top stolen from Phantom Lady's closet. I know some artists who would like him because you don't have to draw his feet, but...
Powers: Despite the look, the Cometeer isn't intangible. He can fly and the trail he leaves his hot enough to fix a cracked dam. Being shot by electricity apparently drains his power.
Sighted: In Littleville. Fixed a dam under attack by the Thunderbolt organization's tank, but couldn't survive a shot of its canon.
Possibilities: In the DCU, his best shot is as a Superfriends-type "international" or "ethnic" hero. It would explain his look, and perhaps some South American connection could relate to Aztec or Inca astrology and the passage of comets. Infrequent appearances, perhaps as a member of the Global Guardians may be too much to hope for.
Integration Quotient: 15% (unlikely that writers would want to use him after first appearance)
Name: The Mole (sounds like a villain)
Costume: Completely ridiculous. Though the Mole has a Batman vibe going on in the mask area, the drill bits on both the head and fingers is second in silliness only to the chest emblem with its cartoon mole looking out from under a big M. For some reason, he also has webbed feet, the better to paddle through the dirt.
Powers: Can move very quickly underground by making his drill bits spin. He can also follow vibrations from up above, tracking criminals through layers of dirt.
Sighted: Under Littleville. Followed a Thunderbolt tank to the organization's hideout where he captured all but the leader and stopped their plot.
Possibilities: Very few. There are ways to do a subterranean superhero, but this isn't it. I foresee a guest appearance in the background of Hero Hotline. Not much more.
Integration Quotient: 4% (silly to the point of spoof)

So that's the first effort. The SBG will bring you more in the near future! Stick with Robby for now, or would you like me to mix it up with Chris King, Vicki Grant, Hero Cruz and pass-the-dial 2003 series?


snell said...

You should add a category, "How JMS Would Suck The Joy Out Of This Particular Dial Hero."

De said...

Cool new feature! I love the silliness of Dial H. Any chance you'll take a crack at some of the other nutty characters, like the Pupil?

Siskoid said...

You know me, I plan to do them all.

Anonymous said...

Stick with the classic Robby Reed stuff.

Did they ever try to do a grim-n-gritty H-Dial? Because that would actually be a pretty good excuse for the existence of the '90s indie scene.

And since I'm already hurting my brain, did you ever wonder if the H-dial was made by the Warpsmiths from Miracleman, where it's treated like superpowered Chatroulette? "Hah hah hah! You dialed Dick-Man again!"

Bob Buethe said...

@mkhall: Yes. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.E.R.O._%28comics%29

Unknown said...

You're gonna love the news I have!

DC just announced a new imprint called Wonder Comics, which will feature a new incarnation of the H Dial!

It appears to be a red dial phone, like the one Adam West had in the batman series. The new dial-holder is shown to be a young girl wearing red gloves and a hat, a black and white shirt, blue jeans, and red sneakers.

I'm so excited!

Siskoid said...

I'd heard, though not as many details as you just gave. You can't keep this feature down!

Unknown said...

After some more research, another user of this new dial is a young boy Miguel, who hangs out with a young girl that owns a motorcycle .There's also this character that I've dubbed "The Dial-Keeper", looking like if Gandalf and Morpheus fised together while also carruong his own dial.


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